“It’s the first time we’ve done anything like this because it’s the first time we’ve been paid to put content in that space," the company said on its blog. "It’s going to feel a little weird at first, but we’re taking the plunge.”
The sponsored post for the film Ouija was edited specifically for the platform to mimick a Snapchat story.
The ads are optional; users don’t have to watch them if they don’t want to. They also disappear after viewing or within 24 hours, just like Stories. Users have no choice when it comes to receiving the ads, but unlike the approach chosen by Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the ads do not play automatically.
It is unclear when Snapchat plans to roll out to other markets or how exactly it charges for ads. In its blog, Snapchat stressed that it wouldn’t put ads in personal communication, things like Snaps or Chats. “That would be totally rude,” the statement said. “We want to see if we can deliver an experience that’s fun and informative, the way ads used to be, before they got creepy and targeted.”
“As Snapchat starts down the advertising path, it needs to make sure that it creates a culture in which advertiser and users’ wishes are aligned,” said James Hollow, president at Lowe Profero Tokyo. “The way YouTube have succeeded in doing, and Line seems to be trying hard to sustain.”
According to Hollow, post-IPO, Facebook is riding high on its media revenues, but both users and advertisers are concerned about all the noise in the timeline and the fact that brands and user aims are often at odds.